Friday, April 15, 2016

One trainer, two trainer, three trainer, four...

Jumping back to the clinic and how much it helped Tillie and I...not to mention my elation at trying someone new, it sparked a conversation with some barn goers questions just how many trainers I have and why the need for soooo many? The answer isnt simple, but the simple one I gave is, it works for us. 

Totally working for us
I work full time, freelance design and web work in addition to teaching beginner horseback riding lessons to sustain my hobby of competing my own 7 year old off the track thoroughbred mare. If it sounds like an impossibly fully loaded schedule, that's because it is! 

Being accident prone certainly didnt help us
When I do squeeze in riding my mare, Tillie, I want to make every second count. I take my riding seriously, but by the middle of the show season last year I found myself feeling not so great and realized I wasn't really enjoying it. Half the time I was riding scared of what antics Tillie would pull in her exuberance and I always felt a bit let down that I couldn't handle it. We had few falls and near misses during last year that took a bit of a toll on my confidence which didn't help either. It forced me to question whether or not Tillie and I were the right fit for one another and if I needed a been-there-done-that mount to show me around the sport of eventing.

Sass moments like these were typical every single ride

This winter I committed to pouring every penny I made into carting us to lessons with more than one instructor. The goal was to try to figure out what worked for us and if we could form a team through more understanding and knowledge. Slowly, things started to smooth out in conjunction with Tillie becoming more of an adult rather than a reactive baby. 

All business now!

I currently ride with more trainers and instructors than I have saddles (I have 4 to be exact but don't tell my husband). While some people may think this is too many and prefer one steady program, I say do what works for you. This system has done wonders for Tillie and my own confidence. I actually have a ridable horse that I can trust more of the time.

Like trusting her enough to jump this big cross country

I have a fabulous dressage trainer that has made understanding the technicality of dressage so accessible. I have to work hard at it and riding was never a naturally easy thing for me, but she makes me feel like we can do it. I also have a fabulous jump trainer that puts us through some pretty intense grids and exercises but in such a relaxed atmosphere it made all the difference from a crazed overly excited Tillie and a tense me, to going around 3ft courses like it's just another day. She has made the largest impact on my confidence and ability to trust Tillie. I have a cross country and jump trainer who I learn so much about being a professional in the sport and how to ride a young, developing horse...while this trainer doesnt exactly hold my hand, they challenge me to be a better rider. This trainer also happens to be my role model and watching this person ride...its amazing how easy it looks. I want to become a quiet efficient and effective rider like that. 

Finally, all these other trainers I try for clinics or random lessons...they seem to help to really catapult us to a new level of understanding something we have been hearing from our routine trainers, but because its from someone new it resonates more. 

In what works for you and your horse. Have 1 trainer have 20! But at the end of the day, its all about feeling good and we know how fickle that feeling can be.


  1. If you think you are bad. I'm just riding dressage with Stinker and we have three... S for the day to day. D for videos because she is amazing. And the semi local dressage judge that I ride with every 2-3 months (basically every time she is in the area). And this is all in a wasteland without a lot of choices for one discipline. As long as they all complement each other and you don't start feeling pulled different directions I say the more the merrier.

  2. You sound as busy as me, which means I now feel collectively exhausted for both of us. I definitely agree, do what works best for you and your horse. Thanks for sharing this part of your journey with us, your readers.

  3. I love having a trainer or two that I really like sort of in my back pocket that I don't ride with regularly. Some trainers I feel are better as "clinicians" in that they can really pull a rabbit out of the hat when they don't see you all the time, and some trainers who are just stupendous day in day out trainers, that inch you forward a bit every day.

    If anyone is counting, I currently have two dressage instructors and three jump trainers and one groundwork/general behavior trainer.



    That's the first time I've counted in a while.

  4. I saw you doing XC yesterday! I recognized Tillie's crooked strip/blaze and her jumping form! You guys looked awesome!

    1. hahah sooo funny!!! Ill be posting about it soon :) you should have come said hello!